Tackling Mass Incarceration within the United States Research Paper

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. The Problem of Mass Incarceration
  3. Practice and Policy Recommendations
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

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Mass incarceration has turn into a serious drawback within the United States as illustrated by numerous folks in jails or different types of correctional supervision. An article printed in Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (Mass incarceration, n.d.) offered an argument that mass incarceration shouldn’t be greatest defined by rising crime charges. On the opposite, it’s a coverage alternative by the laws to make use of imprisonment as punishment for crimes. The many risks of this strategy have been explored in scholarly literature the place a consensus reached is that imprisonment hardly solves America’s drawback. Therefore, there’s a want to deal with the query of why mass incarceration remains to be the first correctional observe regardless of proof displaying that it doesn’t work desirably. The focus of this paper is to expound on the perceived risks of the imprisonment coverage and supply suggestions on the topic for each observe and coverage.

The Problem of Mass Incarceration

Correction and sentencing practices within the United States might be labeled as ineffective and inefficient. Mass incarceration has seen an enormous share of individuals being imprisoned. Prison Policy Prison is a web based publication that retains observe of the imprisonment practices within the nation. In 2019, Sawyer and Wagner (2019) established that nearly 2.3 million folks have been held in state and federal prisons, Indian county jails, native jails, juvenile correctional services, and navy prisons. In addition, different confinement services embrace these devoted to immigration detention, state psychiatric hospitals, civil dedication facilities, and different prisons within the U.S. territories. In 2020, Sawyer and Wagner (2020) word that these figures haven’t dropped however the variety of services has risen. The solely argument for this development is that the nation refuses to just accept that there might be higher options to incarceration or at the very least that the policymakers aren’t eager on exploring them.

The ineffectiveness of mass incarceration might be examined when it comes to the extent to which it fails to attain correctional aims. According to Copp (2020), incarceration usually will increase the danger of violent recidivism, which implies that imprisonment doesn’t make folks higher. An identical sentiment has been expressed by Stemen (2017) who states that extra incarceration doesn’t make society safer. Such an statement might be described as a paradox as a result of incarceration has been proven to have little impact in lowering crime though it’s used as the first response to delinquency within the nation. Another paradox famous by Stemen (2017) is that the policymakers have been making an attempt to scale back mass incarceration for greater than a decade whereas on the similar time calling for more durable sentences and extra incarceration to combat crime. The key thought is that imprisonment doesn’t cut back crime, which implies it’s neither an efficient deterrence nor a viable intervention. Sawyer and Wagner (2019) have additionally famous that many individuals in jail are being held earlier than their trial, which provides to the rising statistics. However, the very fact stays that the nation has overemphasized imprisonment.

Besides recidivism and failing efforts, different risks of mass incarceration have additionally been explored. For instance, parental incarceration tends to hurt the well-being of the kids who can develop with out parental attachment and the suitable emotional help (Wakefield & Wildeman, 2018). According to Sawyer and Wagner (2019), a lot of the prisoners are the results of the warfare on medication, which implies that the mistaken strategy has been used to deal with the drug disaster within the nation. Despite these observations and risks, you will need to acknowledge that imprisonment serves sure vital functions and could possibly be the perfect answer in some circumstances. However, the variety of folks in jails is an excessive amount of for a democratic nation. From an financial perspective, imprisonment deprives the nation of an enormous proportion of the labor drive. Additionally, different externalities can emerge, particularly as a result of the products and providers consumed by the prisoners are produced via regular financial actions (Cox, 2020). The redirection of assets to an enormous jail inhabitants implies that the present coverage and observe want reconsideration.

Practice and Policy Recommendations

The first advice for coverage and observe is the exploration and use of options to incarceration. Such a advice relies on the notion that imprisonment doesn’t make society safer as expressed by Stemen (2017). Additionally, the statement by Sawyer and Wagner (2019) that many prisoners are the results of the warfare on medication implies that there are options to jailing drug offenders. Most importantly, crimes dedicated because of drug use would require rehabilitation and different types of behavioral modification. Alternatively, community-based and family-focused interventions as really helpful by Ryon et al. (2017) will also be thought of for the suitable circumstances. For instance, incarceration of juvenile offenders has been thought of to be very expensive, which implies that community-based and family-focused interventions serve two functions: cut back the prices and pursue actual correctional outcomes. Such an thought emanated from a rising physique of proof to recommend that cost-saving might be achieved as within the case research of Florida described by Ryon et al. (2017). Therefore, some options supply higher outcomes than incarceration and must be applied.

The second advice relies on the primary one because the various chosen must be the one which yields the perfect final result. Therefore, the legal justice observe ought to implement a danger administration framework to assist decide the approaches taken to sentencing. According to Kopkin et al. (2016), such a framework might be an efficient treatment to the issue of mass incarceration. Risk evaluation shouldn’t be a brand new idea within the authorized system contemplating that its use has been quickly rising in current many years. As such, it’s only a matter of discovering new makes use of for the technique within the type of figuring out sentencing choices. The present use of danger evaluation consists of such determinations as parole and bail, in addition to civil dedication. Therefore, it’s obvious that the technique is already in use in legal justice. However, the really helpful strategy, on this case, is that the danger evaluation is used within the number of the options. This means incarceration is simply undertaken when the results of danger evaluation signifies that it’s the greatest answer.

The advice to make use of danger evaluation to find out options to mass incarceration relies on the belief that some crimes deserve punishment whereas others require rehabilitation. Additionally, a number of danger components should be thought of whereas deciding on an alternate. For instance, a minor hooked on medication could and committing petty crimes should require incarceration for rehabilitation to happen. On the opposite, a father or mother who commits a street offense could also be positioned below home arrest or sentenced to neighborhood work the place she or he can nonetheless have satisfactory time to spend with kids. Such an offender poses an insignificant danger, and different such options as fines will also be applied. In excessive circumstances, serial killers, as an example, incarceration might be the one approach to maintain the general public secure, during which a danger evaluation train can help this resolution. The potential advantages of danger evaluation in sentencing have been outlined by Kopkin et al. (2016), who signifies that even judges could make extra knowledgeable choices. For instance, such issues as recidivism and creating the suitable deterrence for crimes might be addressed. Recidivism must be a serious concern for the legal justice system.

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Mass incarceration within the United States has been depicted as a serious drawback for the nation, which implies options and options are wanted. However, the idea of the dialogue on this paper was that there exist paradoxes within the observe the place imprisonment is most well-liked by policymakers regardless of proof displaying such an strategy doesn’t assist the nation a lot. Therefore, the observe and coverage suggestions provided are primarily based on the concept that the justice system wants options that work. Therefore, options to incarceration have been proposed as the primary advice. Instead of jailing offenders, different punitive measures might be applied relying on the character of the crime. Secondly, it might be unwise to make use of options that might additionally fail to yield the specified outcomes. Therefore, a danger evaluation framework has been really helpful to help the choice and implementation of the options. The primary thought is that jails must be used when different options fail, which might go a good distance in lowering the degrees of mass incarceration.


Copp, J. (2020). The impression of incarceration on the danger of violent recidivism. Marquette Law Review, 103(3), 775-791. Web.

Cox, R. (2020). Applying the speculation of social good to mass incarceration and civil rights. Research on Social Work Practice, 30(2), 205-218. Web.

Kopkin, M., Brodsky, S., & DeMatteo, D. (2016). Risk evaluation in sentencing choices: A treatment to mass incarceration? Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research, 9(2), 155-164. Web.

Mass incarceration. (n.d.). Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice. Web.

Ryon, S., Early, Okay., & Kosloski, A. (2017). Community-based and family-focused options to incarceration: A quasi experimental analysis of interventions for delinquent youth. Journal of Criminal Justice, 51, 59-66. Web.

Sawyer, W., & Wagner, P. (2019). Mass incarceration: The entire pie 2019 [PDF file]. Prison Policy Initiative. Web.

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Sawyer, W., & Wagner, P. (2020). Mass incarceration: The entire pie 2020. Prison Policy Initiative. Web.

Stemen, D. (2017). The jail paradox: More incarceration is not going to make us safer [PDF file]. Vera Institute of Justice. Web.

Wakefield, S., & Wildeman, C. (2018). How parental incarceration harms kids and what to do about it [PDF file]. National Council on Family Relations, 3(1), 1-2. Web.

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